Before my mission, I worried that I would become “weary in well-doing”, that I would become bored by doing the same exact thing every day for two years. But I’ve learned two things:
1. The Lord always throws curve balls. We don’t just walk the same path every day.
2. As mentioned in General Conference, selfless sacrifice brings joy when we might expect to see weariness. The joy of Christlike service overcomes weariness.
In our ward, there is a man named Brother Duncan. He was baptized a 13 months ago, although his wife has been a member her whole life. On March 1 he went to the temple, received his endowments and was sealed to his wife for time and all eternity. On Monday March 31, he passed away. We had been visiting the Duncans weekly helping them prepare for the temple. His story is evidence to me that the Lord has a plan for us. I don’t see it as coincidence that this man received all of his saving ordinances and died within the month of their completion. The Lord has a work for him. I played the organ at his funeral on Friday.
This was transfer week. Elder Bernard is now in my old ward in Long Beach and Elder Jacobson and I spent most of the day on Tuesday cleaning up and closing a missionary apartment, returning a car to the mission office, and waiting for our zone leaders to pick us up. It’s incredible how gross and unclean some missionaries are. After all, they are 18-25 year old kids.
Wednesday, we had a lesson with Judy on the importance of scripture study. We committed her to study every day for the rest of her life… and she accepted. We talked about how feasting upon the words of Christ doesn’t need to be like a parent force-feeding us our least favorite vegetables, rather it becomes a daily opportunity for personal revelation from our Heavenly Father. She then gave us a stack of papers and pictures and showed us she already planned her entire baptismal service… talks, program, songs, etc. She is looking forward with faith to her baptism on April 26th at 2:00 PM. It is awesome to see her progress that came (and still comes) line upon line, precept on precept, according to her diligence.
We also had a fantastic lesson with Valerie on Wednesday, a teenage girl and friend of a recent convert in our ward. She is prepared and the situation is perfect. Lessons at a member’s home where the spirit is already present with her best friend who is a recent convert that loves the gospel with all her heart. We had the opportunity to give Valerie a blessing (at her request) after the lesson. She was in tears almost immediately. She knows the power of the priesthood is real. She also came to General Conference Sunday morning and loved it.
Every time we meet with Anthony, I love him more and more. (If you don’t remember, he is an investigator in the Singles’ Ward who figured out the Plan of Salvation on his own). He came to the Priesthood Session of General Conference and cheered at the end of President Monson’s talk. He loved it. We asked him afterward what he though about conference and he told us, “It was awesome! On my way here, I was talking to Jasper (his member friend) about something and when we walked in the speaker was talking about the exact same thing!”
I am learning now that the prepared will recognize the truth immediately. The not-yet-prepared will see that exact same truth and see nothing. The purpose of the Savior’s parables is still replicated today. Also, as talked about in conference, Truth is truth whether or not anyone believes in it. It doesn’t cease to be true when it becomes unpopular. Then it would cease to be a firm foundation.
As I’ve said before, I wish I had time to share all of the sacred and faith-promoting experiences I have every week, but there is simply not enough time. And honestly, my emails are potentially more interesting to me than anyone else, so maybe it’s good I don’t make them any longer.
Dad: I think you may be single-handedly be keeping any number of airlines in business. You probably spend as much time on an airplane or on the freeway as you do sleeping. The picture of the dog was at a recent converts house. She has three German shepherds, one of which was a police dog and the other two were trained service dogs. We did service for her in her back yard and as part of the service we took her dogs on a short walk.
I didn’t even know Tanasha was expecting! I will be praying for her. President Monson’s talk, “I Will Not Fail Thee, Nor Forsake Thee” from the October 2013 talk as well as many talks from this conference might help her. A man in our ward whose wife just passed away always tells us, “I never realized until Kathleen died how close the emotions of sorrow and happiness can be.” I always think of that now when I think of loss.
Mom: The swimming pool is not at the mayor’s house. It is just a member of our ward whose house we were at for dinner. The peppermint burt’s bees is perfect. I don’t have my package yet because our zone leaders didn’t pick up mail this week. 😦 Hopefully I will get it this Thursday.
Grandma and Grandpa Koetitz: I miss you too!!! My mission has showed to me the eternal importance of families. Specifically of our family. Being away seems to align my priorities in the order God would have them. And family will always be first.
Kimmie: Hyrum’s vocabulary now includes words I don’t even know in portuguese! Darn it! I don’t know how to say “stuck” or “broke” in Portuguese. In other words, I wouldn’t even understand a 2 year old in Brazil ;). Today in the Doctrine and Covenants I read the words of the Lord to the early members of the saints, telling them that blessings always come after we are in the furnace of affliction if we steadfastly look forward with faith. Sometimes we’d rather skip the furnace or the refining fire, but without it we wouldn’t grow. Hey! I might even be home for number 2’s first birthday! But a lot is going to happen between now and then.
Lacey: HAPPY BIRTHDAY ADELAIDE!!! She’s so old! I can’t watch the video 😦 but having a birthday the same week as general conference is pretty much as good as it gets. Sharing a birthday week with the Savior of the World and the Restoration of His Church is pretty cool. How are you? Is work still crazy busy? Have you had time to breath?
Tyler: I have learned to enjoy or at least tolerate an increasingly growing list of foods on my mission, although I’m sure in Japan you will experience much more of that than I have in California. I actually enjoyed eating a mushroom a few weeks ago. However: two things will never change: Egg-salad sandwiches and cooked spinach. Also, you are lucky to be so close to church! How big is your area?
Until next week! Fique Firme! I love everyone!
P.S. If I could pick a theme for conference, it would be Helaman 5:12, which was referenced by at least four speakers and happens to be one of my favorite scriptures in all of scripture right now.